Real Members’ Motivating Weight Loss BEFORE and AFTER Photos
By KELLY PLOWE
At all hours of the day or night thousands of LIVESTRONG members are providing each other support, advice, guidance and motivation in our Community section. Topics addressed include Quit Smoking, Track Food Daily, Be Fit, Food, Cooking & Recipes, Reader-Recommended Gear, Stay Sober, Running, Lose 50+ Pounds, and Lose Weight.
Each month (and on a weekly basis for the Reader-Recommended Gear contest), we run contests where members compete to win $50 and $100 gift cards. There are contests asking for people to share their motivation to quit smoking, to post their favorite healthy recipes, and share their fitness transformations and weight loss success stories – including “before” and “after” photos.
Last week we posted our first "Before" and "After" pics blog post, which highlighted some of the recent winners from our monthly weight loss transformation contests. We find it inspiring to see everyday people struggling and overcoming the same issues so many of us face. Their stories motivate us to take action in our own lives and remind us that it is attainable.
As we head into the last week of February, I wanted to share with you some of the photos and stories from members who have already submitted entries in our February "Before" and "After" transformation contest. At this point, there is still time to enter yourself - simply post your "Before" and "After" photos in this thread by Friday, Feb 28. Also, be sure to take a look at these members' inspiring stories and photos, and let us know the guy and gal who you think should win $100 this month.
If you're still working on your own fitness transformation - we get it. So are we! Just be sure to take your "Before" photos now (here are some helpful tips on how to take them), so that you will be able to enter the contest next month, or in April or May. We'll still be here rooting for you!
Female Entrant #1: LIVESTRONG Member GuitarGrlKatie
As a sophomore in college, Guitargrlkatie reached her heaviest weight — 226 pounds. This is also when the health issues began to develop — high blood pressure and borderline diabetes. She was tired all of the time and felt miserable. After being diagnosed as "obese" — in an attempt to avoid going on medication — she decided to change her diet and lifestyle. GuitarGrlKatie began opting for healthier foods and started to keep track of her calories. She also began to exercise 5-6 times a week. After 6 months of hard work she lost 57 pounds, her blood pressure normalized and she avoided being diagnosed with diabetes. She also got her confidence back and felt better overall.
GuitarGrlKatie kept the weight off for 6 years but gained back 15 pounds last year. She's since worked off those 15 pounds again. "This time," she says, "it’s not just a diet for a short period of time…it’s a lifestyle that I intend to keep!"
Female Entrant #2: LIVESTRONG Member KristenMigs
KristenMigs reached her heaviest of 215 pounds at a pretty young age. She felt she was missing out on the things she loved most in life, and her health was deteriorating. She wanted to be able to walk to school without being picked on and she wanted to feel comfortable going to the beach. Kristen started to walk every day and began cleaning up her diet by choosing healthier, real food. The weight started to come off. Today Kristen is a healthy 143 pounds, and she's thankful for her life. "I’m so much happier and I embrace my beauty and love every part of me," she says.
Male Entrant #1: LIVESTRONG Member Drexlus
In 2008, Drexlus weighed about 325 pounds. That year his grandmother became very ill, in a large part due to her obesity. His fear of this happening to him spurred him to make some changes to his health. As a high school coach he also felt motivated to be a role model for his students and to be able to teach his son how to throw a football.
In 2009, Drexlus set his first New Year's resolution - to be healthy. His goal wasn't to just lose weight but to develop healthy habits for his kids and students. He started by using MyPlate - LIVESTRONG's free calorie tracker — to keep track of what he was eating. His first goal was to get below 270 pounds. Once he reached his goal, he aimed for 250...then 240...and then 220.
Drexlus started 2014 around 215 pounds with a new resolution to get below 200 pounds before basketball season ends in March. Currently, he's got about 5 more pounds to go to reach his goal! He's back to tracking his calorie intake on MyPlate, and he's been having a "blast" doing the daily STRONGER workouts. "Big thanks to LIVESTRONG.COM!" he says, "such a great resource."
Female Entrant #3: LIVESTRONG Member Aflanary
During her pregnancy with her daughter, Aflanary reached 175 pounds. Shortly after giving birth, she lost some of the weight, but because she was busy with a new baby, she says she didn't have the time to commit to work on getting back in shape. Over the course of the year, she lost about 17 pounds, and three months ago made a commitment to getting fit. She's reached 120 pounds and is in the "best shape of her life."
Male Entrant #2 : LIVESTRONG Member Charlie_Pea
At 18 years old, Charlie_Pea weighed in at 325 pounds. He knew sooner or later he'd have to make a change, but he kept putting it off. In 2006 he finally made his health a goal by working out for 45 minutes a day, six days a week. Eventually, he began to add in weightlifting as well. Charlie_Pea also began to do research around diet and learned how to read food labels and figure out what different ingredients meant in order to understand what he was putting in his body. He changed his diet by completely cutting out added sugars, fried foods and replacing them with vegetables, lean meats, fruits, and complex carbs. In a year and a half, he managed to lose 140 pounds. Today he still maintains a healthy weight of 185 pounds.
"I’ve been practicing a healthy lifestyle for seven years now and don’t ever plan on slowing down," he says. "I am now a father of a beautiful four-year-old boy. Hearing him say, 'My daddy is the strongest!' warms my heart and reminds me that I am his role model."
Readers - Do you have a weight loss or bodybuilding transformation of your own to share? Do you have "Before" photos already? If not, why not? (If you do, consider entering the February "Before" and "After" contest!) After reading these members' stories and seeing their transformations, which guy and gal do you think should win the $100 prize this month?
Kelly Plowe, MS, RD, CSSD is a nutritionist and food and health communications specialist. As a registered dietitian and certified Sports Dietitian, Kelly helps consumers put health and nutrition research into practice. She believes diet is at the center of a healthy and fulfilling life and is dedicated to helping others be their best. Kelly lives in Los Angeles with her fiancé and their bulldog, Sunny. She is an avid runner and CrossFit enthusiast. Living in SoCal, Kelly spends most of her free time outside ocean swimming, riding her beach cruiser and going to music concerts.